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Deodorant Questions You've Been Too Afraid to Ask

Deodorant Questions You've Been Too Afraid to Ask

by Sarah Thomas

Most of us prefer to smell fresh and clean, which is why we shower and wear deodorant daily. But how much thought are we putting into our deodorant choice? We just want it to work and not harm our skin!

Below are some common answers to the questions about deodorant you may never have asked yourself, but have likely pondered.

Why isn't my deodorant working?

There are a few reasons deodorants fail. One issue is that sweat and bacteria latch onto synthetic fabrics. If you’ve ever noticed a B.O. smell five minutes after putting on a clean shirt, it’s probably because the human-made fibers of your shirt are holding onto past deodorant applications. Many deodorants and antiperspirants contain waxes, aluminum, and baking soda—none of which rinse out of clothing very well.

Another reason your deodorant may not be working is that you aren’t extending the application far enough. Try applying it 1-2 inches beyond the hair-bearing area of your underarms and into the fold of your deltoid and bicep.

Do I really need to stop using aluminum?

Some people have health concerns regarding aluminum, but research is still ongoing regarding the validity of those claims. That said, if you have concerns, it never hurts to err on the side of caution. After all, aluminum does tend to stain clothing yellow and it’s also not a great way to control odor. Another downside is that products with aluminum tend to be heavily-scented and it can be difficult to wash the waxy residue out of clothes. For those reasons alone, choose an aluminum-free deodorant that doesn’t mask smells or prevent sweat from occurring, but that literally halts the odor-causing reaction on the skin from happening in the first place.

Is there really a difference between men’s and women’s deodorants?

Other than packaging and fragrance, no, there isn’t really a difference. The ingredients are essentially the same. Innovative deodorants are unisex and some are even designed to be applied anywhere odor is causing a problem, such as externally on private parts. Women do not need a separate vaginal deodorant—and they can actually cause harm—contrary to what they’ve been told. Odor-causing reactions on the skin are very similar throughout the body, no matter where they occur.

Do I need to wear deodorant every day?

Try a deodorant that's clinically-proven to work up to 72 hours. If you find that you can get away without applying deodorant every day, go with what works for you. The same goes for showering and hair washing—everyone is different. You may be surprised about the innovations in human hygiene these days.


A good deodorant should be formulated with naturally-derived ingredients that won’t irritate the skin. Baking soda and aluminum can be irritating to sensitive skin, so make sure your deodorant for sensitive skin or deodorant wipes do not contain those ingredients.

Sarah Thomas

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